“Pain and Torture” The Value of Physical Therapy


Eating lunch at home with my left hand. A Special Thanks to Traci Gee and Sarah March for helping me get ready to hold my nephew. Those three weeks together were sure an adventure!


Getting ready to swim at the YMCA


In the Water with Traci Gee July 2013.  Swimming is one of my favorite Summertime Activities! I’m a Mermaid in the water!

caden and Aunt Ra

Here’s the reason I learned to use my left hand. In this picture, he’s about four months old. (I think) Now he’ll be three in January  They grow up so fast!  By the way, his middle name Rex is in honor of my dad who passed away in January 1995. Too bad Dad isn’t here to meet his grandson.

Jensen Family

The Jensen Family 2015. On the left is my sister Roz Jensen. Next to her is her husband, Cody Jensen. My sister is holding Brynn who was born August 3rd 2015. We just celebrated her first birthday. I’ll have to write a story about her next. If Caden sees my mom without me, the first thing he says is, “Where’s Aunt Rachael?” He can’t wait to see me! I love him too! We always have a great time together! What a great family!

I have cerebral palsy. Over the years I’ve had lots of physical therapy throughout my life. Physical therapy helps me strengthen my leg muscles which helps me be able to do things like transfer to a car; get in and out of bed, etc. Sometimes when the physical therapist is stretching my legs and holding it up on their shoulder it can be painful if the muscles haven’t been stretched out enough. Sometimes, as my mom is watching me and she sees the look on my face, she says,

This is liable to look like pain and torture you know that?” The therapist smiles and we laugh.

As a child, I didn’t like going to physical therapy. Now that I’m an adult, I’ve come to appreciate the benefits of physical therapy.I especially appreciated it in the summer of 2013 when I knew my new nephew would be arriving soon. I’m a children’s author and I really love children. I couldn’t wait to hold my newborn nephew  First I had to get my left hand working better I used my right for everything my left hand just sat there. It wasn’t that I couldn’t use my left hand but my left hand is slower at doing things so I get impatient and let the right hand do it all. Holding a baby takes two hands. I can use my left hand, but my right hand is more relaxed because I use it more.
In order to get my left working well enough to hold a baby, I did all kinds of things. My friend Sarah came in and helped me. During the summer of 2013, Sarah helped me train a new caregiver named Traci who would take care of me during the week. For three weeks, Sarah Traci, and I did lots of physical therapy. At lunchtime, they put my right arm in a sling so that I had to use my left arm for everything. Picking up the drink, picking up my sandwich etc. Trust me there were many times I thought, This is crazy. My tea is in a huge aluminum container. When It’s full, it’s really heavy! Many times as I tipped it up to take a drink I’d spill tea down the front of my shirt or even drop the container on the floor. What a mess! When something is not habit repetition is the key. That’s true for anyone but especially someone like me who struggles with getting the right messages to communicate with the right parts of the body so I can do the small everyday tasks.
At times I sighed and wondered, Why am I doing this again? Then I’d tell myself silently, Baby, Baby, Baby. That got me motivated again. I continued working to strengthen my left hand. When I was at the computer at home, Traci would switch the mouse pad over to the left side. I moved a few icons around on the desktop. At the hospital, it used to take me forever to get signed in at the volunteer office The cursor moved everywhere on the screen except the correct numbers I needed. The more I used my left hand, the faster it got. Now I check in at the hospital in no time at all.
Finally January 1st 2014 came and my nephew arrived. His name is Caden Rex Jensen He has Hazel eyes very similar to my sister, and black curly just like his father. When I held my nephew for the first time, we both looked at each other and smiled. I thought about all the hard work I’d done in therapy to get to this special moment. The “pain and torture” was worth it. I thought. Caden Rex Jensen is now a year old and will soon have a sibling in August. I can’t wait until my nephew gets old enough to hear to this story. Then I can tell him, “I learned to use my left hand for you!”